Elite IDF units simulate multi-front wars on foreign soil

“This is the peak of one of the largest and most extensive exercises we have conducted in years.”

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the IDF’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi last week visited a large-scale joint military exercise conducted in Cyprus to simulate multi-front war scenarios in unfamiliar territory.

“The IDF is constantly preparing for various operations and systems and will deal a severe blow to anyone who seeks to threaten the citizens of the State of Israel,” Gantz said during the visit. “This is the peak of one of the largest and most extensive exercises we have conducted in years.”

The drill in Cyprus with the country’s National Guard forces is part of the IDF’s large-scale, monthlong military exercise, which began in early May to train for a war involving multiple adversaries. As part of the training, known as “Chariots of Fire,” the IDF sought to simulate multi-arm combat scenarios in the air, at sea, on land and the cyber front.

Gantz met with Cypriot Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Demokritos Zervakis and held situation assessments with commanders of the army units in the drill.

In a meeting, Kochavi and Zervakis discussed shared security challenges in the Middle East and opportunities to expand military cooperation, the IDF said.

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Kochavi called the exercise in Cyprus, dubbed “Beyond the Horizon,” a challenging test of the IDF’s readiness for a variety of threats. Some of the military’s elite units from the Intelligence Directorate, Cyber Defense Directorate, Israeli Navy, paratroopers brigades and other special forces took part.

“I see that the forces participating in the exercise, from all branches of the IDF, demonstrate very high levels of professionalism and readiness for action,” Kochavi said. “The joint exercise with the Cypriot National Guard is another expression of the IDF’s operational capabilities and allows for the shared improvement of our two militaries.”

During the drill, the IDF’s ground forces will train with the assistance of combat helicopters, perform emergency evacuations with Israeli Air Force transport helicopters, employ visual intelligence, and move logistics equipment with the help of heavy transport squadrons. The terrain covered will include wilderness, urban, rural and mountainous areas, the IDF said.

Kochavi also visited the Israeli Air Force units deployed for the exercise and spoke with aircrews, UAV operators, technical units and other squadrons.

Israel’s ties with the Mediterranean island nation have developed over the past year, with Jerusalem playing host to both Cypriot and Greek leaders in December, and an agreement in April to expand energy cooperation.